Radio in India, these days at least is synonymous with film music. That is what pours out of radio sets day in and out. I can’t remember the last time I tuned into the radio except for on a commute, in someone’s car, where there was no other source of music and the silence was just too overbearing. But that’s no reason to complain I suppose, people like music, radio plays music. Everyone’s happy. And some of us are just chronic complainers.
Podcasts are a product of the digital age which so far have been quite pariah as a means of popular entertainment. Last year a US based crime procedural podcast called Serial came out. In the comatose and self contained culture of podcasts it definitely ruptured the divide between podcasts and the rest of the world.
The podcast market in India is in a nascent stage but perhaps we may yet witness the death of the radio star one more time.
What’s a Podcast and Whose Putting them Out?
Podcasts are audio broadcasts much like the radio over the internet. These can be subscribed to, followed and downloaded. They allow you ease of movement, while providing for aural entertainment.
While some individuals have been putting out podcasts for a few years now, they haven’t really caught on. Possibly because of the poor quality audio, recording, obscure content, and in general just a failure to generate interest.
Entering this market is Audiomatic.in - a podcasting channel - the first of its kind in India, says Rajesh Tahil, co founder of the company. Tahil and Tariq Ansari started it in April of this year.
While Our Last Week runs the risk of becoming a tad too high brow, it is quite funny. Hear them ever so gently poke fun at newsmakers and consumers alike. Discuss Maggi, and climate change.
The Real Food Podcast gives out a whole bunch of really interesting insights into food in India
For instance this one stop spot for everything you ever wanted to know (or perhaps not) about Marie biscuits:
The Intersection is science journalism and a site for the sort of news you don’t come by, even in print in India.
This one here is about the science of twin births, and a village of twins in Kerala.
Tahil says of the shows,
“I think we have been fairly fortunate in that the people we have on board have some equity in the area that they are doing their podcasts in. So Vikram Doctor (The Real Food Podcast) is already a very well known food writer. Anuvab Pal and Kunal Roy Kapur (Our Last Week) already have a following as writers and comics. Similarly with Samanth Subramanian and Padmaparna Ghosh, we found that the science podcast (The Intersection) is just so unique and so different from anything else that there the word of mouth is strongest.
– Rajesh Tahil, Audiomatic.in
The comic group AIB has podcasts, which can be found on Youtube, but they are not even a fraction of the fun their videos generate. They have quite a large number of views though.
In 2005 Indicast, a podcast was launched by two hosted by Aditya Mhatre and Abhishek Kumar. The pair discuss a wide range of topics, described on their website as everything from “Sonia to Sania.”
NDTV cites Indicast as having just under 1 million downloads overall, which is a big number for an independent podcast by two amateurs.
There is also the intense Syntalk, with shows lasting about an hour. It is described as “a free-wheeling interdisciplinary talk show with a philosophical approach to understanding the world from a long term perspective.”
Here’s a Syntalk on the concept of violence:
How to Listen?
You can obviously tune into the websites from your computer. There are several apps in smartphones to tune into podcasts. Anytime new content is put up on a podcast you are following, it comes into your phone, from where it can be downloaded and heard later during your commute or at any other time.
Soundcloud has also opened up its podcasting service to everyone as of June this year.
If video killed the radio star, podcasts may be the reincarnation.